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New Chinese export certificates clouded by TB - Zoe Davies comment

8th May 2017 / By Zoe Davies

In her latest monthly Pig World column, NPA chief executive Zoe Davies highlights the pros and cons of pre-election 'purdah'. 

Zoe2While handy at a time of temporary staff shortage for NPA, the period when civil servants are unable to announce any new plans or initiatives is often used as a very useful excuse not to talk to people, Zoe said.

"A good case in point is the new certificates that we need to sign to allow pigs to be exported to China," she wrote. 

"On the one hand, these have clarified some points, but on the other, for some reason, they have thrown in a whole heap of stuff about bovine TB.

"Not only does this appear to be unwarranted, as it is already dealt with in the updated guidance, but it will also mean that anyone with a restriction on their herd, regardless of whether it is justified or not, will not be able to sign the certificate and therefore probably won’t be able to send pigs to an export-certified abattoir.

"Now, while Mr Cheale may well be rubbing his hands (or not!) at that thought, it could cause a whole heap of trouble for anyone who has had a suspect lesion at slaughter and a precautionary restriction placed upon them while they await confirmation of whether it is bovine or avian. It could take two months or more to get that information back, so where are people supposed to send their pigs in the meantime?

"With evermore risk-averse behaviour from local APHA vets, who, in one pig vet’s opinion, appear petrified about making any decision at all, this has the potential to affect many more pig producers.

"Clearly, our trade to China is precious so we don’t want to affect that, but we need to challenge this bonkers policy on TB. I’ve written to the Chief Vet in Defra as I got nowhere with the TB policy team."

To see the full column, click here